Startup Social Skills: Not Everybody Can Be Social

Is Google Plus going to make it? Vic Gundotra, its leader and creator, quietly quit Google. Google’s Sergey Brin told a conference audience that Google Plus was ‘a mistake.’

It’s a skill to be social.

Just like Google, you can’t succeed on every platform. But you have to succeed on at least one if you want people to know about your startup, latest venture or conference.  What platform will that be? Where will you show your social skills?

It’s a question of medium fitting the message.

Some of us are picture people. Say you’re handy with your phone camera, or you’re an honest-to-gosh pro photographer. Instagram will be your beat, and you can get an image-driven Tumblr blog. Fellow creatives will discover you and follow. You can build a community there.

Some of us are word people.  Blog away, I say.  WordPress is an easy platform, and if you’re feeling productive you can even write a few blogs in advance and schedule them for publication.  Beats panicking, wondering what you’ll write about today. (Been there, done that.) The WordPress community is a strong one and people will discover  you.

Some of us are talkers.  YouTube Channels are the way to go, then. If it’s pretty easy for you to talk to the camera like you mean it, creating a daily or weekly YouTube show will draw traffic.  If you’re in a podcasting mood, doing a Google Hangout and posting to YouTube is a strong traffic generator. Soundcloud also works well for podcasts, but it’s YouTube where the people are, so why not go there?

Where does Facebook fit?

My read is that unless you are already established on Facebook, with a few thousand friends, there’s just too much noise there. Facebook is rewarding the people who post the most, and who have the most reach, by showing you their posts most often. If you’re a business page with just a few hundred likes, it’s going to be tough to be seen. You’ll have to buy Facebook ads, which work, but are expensive to maintain without a dedicated ad budget of at least $50 per day, $100 being better.

What about Twitter, LinkedIn and all the rest?

Do you get traction on those platforms? Then go with it. Twitter works for me because my journalism background makes it fun for me to write 140-character ‘headlines.’  LinkedIn groups can be terrific forums for discussion, and you can post a link to your blog or video and bring people into the conversation.  Quora is a great place for asking and answering questions, and reddit, though sometimes redditors can be harsh in their comments, is also a great place for conversations. When you post your stuff around, invite comments, ask questions, try to include people.  Spammy me-me-me doesn’t work so well.

You can’t do everything.

Sorry to break the news, but you don’t have superpowers. You are awesome in many other ways, though. Managing your time should be one of them. Pick your channels, discover your communities, hang out with people who are listening.